Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Caplin on Fri 06 Jun 2014 16:16

Any chance for movement on this over the weekend? :) I'm pretty much done with school and so on, and would love to dive into testing and playing SF.
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Vandervecken on Fri 06 Jun 2014 16:31

Caplin,

Are you zkline on Aurora by any chance ?

I hope that Albireo and Cralis can get you something quickly updated that will work better for your skill-set.
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Caplin on Fri 06 Jun 2014 16:42

Indeed I am. :) I don't mean to nag, and apologize if that's how it comes off.
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Cralis on Fri 06 Jun 2014 17:16

I thought Albireo was already testing it with you? If not, then get started Albireo, it looked fine to me.
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Vandervecken on Sat 07 Jun 2014 07:36

Caplin wrote:Indeed I am. :) I don't mean to nag, and apologize if that's how it comes off.



Starfire is a fascinating game; but from 3rd edition forward, the empire building also made it a complicated game. With your own reading hurdles, I suspect that this can only make things even a bit more complicated.

So don't worry, this is a game that wasn't made for the lower 40% percentile in I.Q., and to effectively GM it takes even a bit more mind and will power.

So as have others stated, welcome to our madness !
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Albireo on Sun 08 Jun 2014 22:05

Caplin,

This is the first time that I have used the email system from this forum.
I hope you received my hyperlink ?
Please give feedback on your playtest with the audible hex map.

I have updated and improved the documentation, from more help files that I have learned.
I have reorganized hex information by most important first, radian angles,
second is radius lines, third least important is hex numbers.
I have implemented formulas for the two compass roses. ( Because as a programmer, it is sometimes easier to make changes. Programmer bias. ;) )

So I wait for your comments.
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Caplin on Mon 09 Jun 2014 12:33

Albireo,

This looks great on first inspection. Just as an initial observation, the instructions you provide for enabling TTS on Excel or LibriOffice aren't really necessary. Screen readers have their own speech built in, which overrides the stuff the spreadsheet programs provide. It can probably be assumed most blind people who might download the map—maybe me and a couple others, realistically—are able to use our programs pretty well. No mark against you, just an observation. :)

I'm still trying to figure out what's most efficient for actually gaming out an engagement.
My thoughts are mostly about keeping track of ship data. I could use the top cell for a live copy of the control sheet, or maybe just the equivalent of a counter, something like, "DD Bradshaw F." In that case I need a separate document to handle combat damage and so on.
How do folks who play with Vasl do this? Is there a space for virtual sheets?

Either way I foresee much cut and paste. I hope this is actually practical :)

Thanks for your work on this!
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Albireo on Mon 09 Jun 2014 16:19

Caplin wrote:Albireo,

This looks great on first inspection. Just as an initial observation, the instructions you provide for enabling TTS on Excel or LibriOffice aren't really necessary. Screen readers have their own speech built in, which overrides the stuff the spreadsheet programs provide. It can probably be assumed most blind people who might download the map—maybe me and a couple others, realistically—are able to use our programs pretty well. No mark against you, just an observation. :)


That was a learning curve that I had to go through. If another sighted person wants to enter your blind world, that information can be helpful. We typically do not know screen readers. My health is improving, so I may get a new job in a few months. If I get hit by a bus, or somehow become unavailable, then another Excel programmer may find this information useful if they want to make updated changes to the audible map. The somewhat robust notes are intended to be helpful for the next programmer who takes over, to reduce the learning curve for them. It is a best practice sometimes seen from the industry.

When I wrote the documentation, I had to beware there are multiple audience viewpoints and concerns.
Sighted players might download because of curiosity, or maybe they need to print an SDS paper map. Excel programmers might be interested in how to become helpful in another project.

Maybe I should move the TTS information to after the Description ?

Caplin wrote:I'm still trying to figure out what's most efficient for actually gaming out an engagement.
My thoughts are mostly about keeping track of ship data. I could use the top cell for a live copy of the control sheet, or maybe just the equivalent of a counter, something like, "DD Bradshaw F." In that case I need a separate document to handle combat damage and so on.


I am very glad to hear you are moving ahead with new thoughts as a result of this new tool. :)
Usually on a physical map, we place counters for WP, planets, space stations and ships. Ground bases, SS, ships etc. . . will have a visible facing. And that is all the information visible from the map.

Then we often use separate paper or spreadsheets to read ship designs, and mark damage.

But in your case, there might be nothing wrong with storing ship designs on the audible map itself.
Just remember in MS Excel, each cell has a limit of how much text can be stored in it.

Also in MS Excel, numbers are usually not stored with prefix zeroes, because numbers are interpreted as numbers, not as text. To enforce a text interpretation, you must ensure the first character in the cell is an apostrophe. Numbers will usually have automatic math performed on it, but text will not.

I wait to hear more comments from your playtest. I am already accumulating a small amount of very minor changes for the next iteration. I just now realize that it needs to improve visibility for printing.

Caplin wrote:How do folks who play with Vasl do this? Is there a space for virtual sheets?


http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Starfire

Some players have used Vassal. They could comment about their experiences, but I suppose they might also use IM. I like to use Pidgin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin_(software)

https://pidgin.im/

Maybe one of these days, I might play around with Psi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psi_(instant_messaging_client)

http://psi-im.org/

And Gmail has its own built in chat. There are many others.

Caplin wrote:Either way I foresee much cut and paste. I hope this is actually practical :)


Beware, maybe because it is just some quirk of my multi-processor PC, or it could be Windows 7, or else something strange with my MS Excel 2010, maybe because I was using Excel TTS, or some new unknown interaction with my external drive, or maybe I have not shut down in three weeks ? :lol:

I had some difficulty cutting and pasting in MS Excel 2010. Text would sometime get cut. I may have to go check again, wondering if it even made it to the clip board. And then it would not paste into another location in Excel, sometime even when relocating within the same line in the same cell. :(

It will take me some time to track down this mystery and understand this strange problem and determine a workaround on my new PC. For now, I just overcome it manually the long way. :( Maybe you won't have this problem the way it is going on my PC.

Caplin wrote:Thanks for your work on this!


It was a good way for me to stretch my mind, and see things a new way. I was very familiar with Windows XP and MS Excel 2003. This simple project allowed me to gain some helpful experience with my new Windows 7 PC and MS Excel 2010. :)

In my experience with MS Windows, sometimes accessibility aids can be helpful for the less disabled
or non-disabled. You have opened my my mind some more. These could be difficult for me.

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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Albireo on Fri 13 Jun 2014 12:28

Caplin,

Will your screen reader still work if I change some font sizes to 8 ?

I think one way that more information may become visible for printing is if I reduce the font size, and also stretch the cell size. I plan to rebuild and test this weekend.
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Re: Starfire Accessibility, or the Poor Man's 4X

Postby Albireo on Fri 13 Jun 2014 14:21

Albireo wrote:I had some difficulty cutting and pasting in MS Excel 2010. Text would sometime get cut. I may have to go check again, wondering if it even made it to the clip board. And then it would not paste into another location in Excel, sometime even when relocating within the same line in the same cell. :(


I think it is because of my multi-processor PC. It seems like sometimes two CPUs might control different interfaces within one Excel program, then maybe one more CPU might control the Excel file, and another CPU handles cell data entry, then one more might be controlling TTS, and another CPU maybe controls the clipboard, but somehow the CPUs do not always seem to talk to each other properly.

It is as though my multi-processor PC is scatterbrained, or maybe Windows 7 delegates that way ? :lol: I just have to spend time to get used to this new PC.
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